How To Grow A Wildflower Garden
By Lesley Dietschy
In today’s gardens often populated by geraniums, roses,
and zinnias, wildflowers can provide a simple and graceful flair.
Almost any garden or landscape can be beautified by their presence.
Not only are wildflowers easy to grow but they possess a natural
resistance to pests, disease, and harsh climates. They can survive
in clay soil, nutrient poor soil, sandy soil, and practically
no soil at all. Once established in their preferred habitat, wildflowers
can survive on their own without pruning, weeding, primping, and
little or no watering.
The easiest way to create and grow a wildflower garden is to
sow the seeds (to plant seeds by scattering) on well-prepped ground
where they will not be in competition with weeds and grasses.
The basic steps are as follows:
1. Decide when to plant (sow) the seeds. Wildflower seeds like
warm soil and they can be planted in either spring or fall, depending
on the species and where you live. They typically germinate best
with a soil temperature of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore,
if you live in zones 1-6 you should plant in the spring and if
you live in zones 7-11 you should plant in the fall. For best
results, follow the instructions on the seed packet or ask your
2. Choose a sunny, well-drained gardening site. Most wildflowers
need at least five to eight hours of sunlight a day and well-drained
3. Prepare the ground by removing any existing vegetation and/or
4. Plant (sow) the seeds. Before spreading, mix the seeds in
a bucket with fine-grade builder’s sand. Use four parts
sand to one part seed. This will help to ensure even coverage.
Spread the seeds in a sweeping motion either by hand or by using
a handheld broadcast seeder.
5. Tap in the seeds. A seed that is buried too deep will not
germinate. To ensure good contact between the seeds and the ground,
walk over the seedbed and tap it down with your foot or use the
head of a garden rake.
6. Water seeds. Wildflower seeds need water to germinate. Water
frequently until the plants grow 1 to 2 inches tall. After that,
only water the wildflowers if they look wilted or stressed.
7. Pull weeds. If weeds grow in the midst of your wildflower
garden, pull them by hand before they have a chance to flower
and populate. If your wildflowers grow thickly, they will eventually
choke out most weeds.
The types of wildflowers or native plants you can grow basically
depend on the characteristics of your garden and environment.
Typically, it’s easier to grow native wildflowers that are
already adapted to the climate and growing conditions in their
native range. However, there are wildflowers that will survive
in virtually any setting and adaptable enough to grow in many
regions of the country. A few of the most popular wildflowers
that grow in North America are Texas Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush,
Butterfly Weed, Autumn Sage, Goldenrod, Sunflower, Black-eyed
Susan, Winecup, and the California Poppy.
Wildflower seeds or plants can be purchased from a local nursery,
mail order, or on the internet. Normally, wildflower seed mixes
contain seeds of both annual and perennial plants. This is done
so that the annuals grow rapidly and cover the ground, while the
perennial plants are taking time to get established.
Growing wildflowers from seeds can be more economical than buying
mature plants. However, one disadvantage of growing wildflowers
from seeds is that many native plants require a long time to germinate
and mature. Also, the seeds of some species require pretreatment
before they can be planted. This process involves stratification,
which is placing seeds in a refrigerated storage in a non-soil
growing medium for one to two months and sometimes longer. So,
if you are not proficient at growing plants from seed, it may
be best to start your wildflower garden by purchasing a few mature
plants from a reputable nursery.
Whether adding wildflowers to your existing garden or creating
a little garden unto itself, it can be a lot of fun to experiment
with seeds and mature plants and learn which species adapts the
best to your garden. To further research wildflowers, visit a
few of the wildflower organizations that can be found on the internet.
Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the creator/editor
of The Home Decor Exchange, a popular home decor, garden decor,
and home improvement website. Please visit the website for quality
resources, articles, ideas, tips, decorating pictures, free projects,
a shopping marketplace, and much more. The website also has a
unique gallery featuring Pine Needle Baskets and Gourd Art. http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com